‘Black Cannabis Professionals are Focused on Expunging Cannabis Criminal Records for People of Color’
PHOENIX, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES, June 30, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Acre 41, LLC. is a group of Black professional industry women who are hosting expungement fairs targeted to those persons eligible for expungement of their cannabis-related criminal arrests under a new Arizona law. In November 2020, Arizona voters passed the initiative known as The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which legalized cannabis throughout the state. In addition, the law provided for expungements of certain cannabis offenses under Arizona Revised Statute, §36-2862. Under the statute, those persons convicted of possessing, consuming or transporting 2½ ounces or less of marijuana, of which not more than 12½ grams was in the form of marijuana concentrate can be expunged. Additionally, persons convicted of possessing, using or transporting paraphernalia related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing or consumption of marijuana, or persons possessing, transporting, cultivating or processing not more than 6 marijuana plants at their primary residence for personal use are eligible for expungement.
Several organizations are offering expungement fairs, but according to company principal, Celestia Rodriguez, “Acre 41 is focused on offering the opportunity, specifically to people of color. While anyone is welcome to the fairs, African Americans have received the short end of the stick with anything related to cannabis for far too long. We don’t own the businesses and we aren’t sitting in the C-suites. However, we’re the ones who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and have been sitting in prisons for decades; In the meantime, non-minorities are making millions”. Objective empirical data supports Rodriguez’s claims. According to the report issued by the ACLU, “The Racial Divide of Prosecutions in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office”, although Blacks make up only 5% of the state’s population, they represent 13% of prison admissions. The report also noted that Blacks and Hispanics were 7X more likely to be arrested for cannabis offenses, although their use is comparable to the use by non-minorities in the state.
Rodriguez is joined by Zsa Zsa Simone-Brown, Shakirah Martinez and Blake Humphrey, as principals in Acre 41; They collectively have decades of experience in the legal cannabis industry. Brown, who is also Deputy Director of Southern Arizona Norml will be hosting expungement fairs at the Harambe Café (6464 E. Tanque Verde Rd.) in Tucson. “We intend to reach every corner of this state, particularly where Black and Brown people live. We want them to take advantage of the expungement provision of the law so that they can also benefit from the economic opportunities in the industry”, says Brown.
The fairs are being hosted where People of Color live. Fairs will be held at Rare Breed Motorcycle Club (1632 E. Southern) and Cosecha Collective for Healing (1407 E. Thomas) in Phoenix. Angel Shark, owned by industry veteran, Yurikino Downing is co-sponsor of the fairs. The company is also working directly with Michael Roth, a seasoned criminal defense attorney who, with other licensed attorneys are offering their legal services pro bono to process the expungement applications. The company also intends to host joint expungement events with various fraternities, churches/civic organizations.
In addition to reaching as many people as possible to assist with their expungements, Acre 41 is committed to ensuring that Blacks, in particular, are in a position to apply for one of the 26 social equity licenses that will be issued in early 2022. According to Humphrey and Martinez, “The time has come for Blacks to actively participate in ownership positions in the industry. True participation can only be realized through social justice reform and meaningful social equity regulations. It is time for us to not only own, but to retain ownership of the licenses in an industry that is predominately dominated by white men; Enough is enough!”
Arizonans seeking expungement of their cannabis-related convictions can register to attend one of the many free expungement fairs that will be held through the end of the year. Walk-ins at the expungement fairs are welcome, but anyone who pre-registers at www.Acre41.org will receive a free copy of the primer, “Being Black or Brown in the Green Rush” (10-10-10 Publishing).
For more information regarding the Acre 41 expungement fairs, or if a civic or religious organization wishes to collaborate to host an on-site expungement fair, contact info@Acre41.org.